If you’re a brit, you can’t’ve missed the news. For others, they’ve just announced the death of Humphrey Lyttleton, chairman for over 30 years of the popular radio show “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue” (ISIHAC), among other things.
ISIHAC was a cult, introducing into our culture (or should that be subculture?) the game of Mornington Crescent, the esteemed Mrs Trellis of North Wales, the ever-lively Samantha, etcetera. It was characterised more than anything by the banter of a team of veteran comedians, coordinated (in the manner of expert cat-herding) by Humph. Banter that was at once witty and lighthearted, outrageously rude, and just like banter within the family. I think that last may have struck the strongest chord with many listeners, including Yours Truly.
I shouldn’t think they’ll try to revive ISIHAC under another chairman (if they do, they’ll surely re-brand it). But the good news for fans is that there is another show where the spirit of ISIHAC lives on, with its own brand of irreverent banter, often only slightly gentler than ISIHAC. Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time stands out as rather good entertainment even for those of us with no garden, nor knowledge of or serious interest in gardening. And its chairman Eric Robson has a definite touch of the Humph about him.